As CAA turns six and Rosh Hashanah approaches, whatever next year brings, together we will do whatever it takes to defend against antisemitism
With the Jewish New Year upon us, Campaign Against Antisemitism marks the sixth anniversary of our launch and reflects on some key moments and achievements of the past year.
It seems like an age ago that almost half of Anglo-Jewry was considering leaving the country, with considerable fear that the antisemite, Jeremy Corbyn, could become Prime Minister of Britain.
Our campaign to raise awareness of antisemitism in politics included exposing how Mr Corbyn’s allies were placing a cast of Jew-baiters in dozens of constituencies and culminated with the publication of our Antisemitism Barometer 2019, which showed that voters who held antisemitic views were particularly drawn to Mr Corbyn and that far-left antisemitism had overtaken the antisemitism of the far-right. We also began publishing our case files exposing antisemitism in political parties, which showed that Mr Corbyn was personally responsible for 24 incidents of involvement in antisemitic discourse and that Labour Party candidates for Parliament accounted for a frightening 82% of incidents across all parties.
We gave voice to the concerns of the Jewish community at our star-studded #TogetherAgainstAntisemitism rally in Parliament Square in December 2019, featuring Robert Rinder, Tracy Ann Oberman, Tom Holland, the President of the Hindu Forum of Britain and the founder of Muslims Against Antisemitism. It was the largest Anglo-Jewish demonstration against antisemitism since our rally outside the Royal Courts of Justice six years ago.
We carefully monitored the Labour Party primary, documenting the records of all the candidates so that Party members could make informed choices. Once Sir Keir Starmer was elected, we have held him to his election pledges on antisemitism, praising him for his successes, such as sacking Rebecca Long-Bailey for sharing an antisemitic conspiracy theory, and criticising his failures, such as refraining from taking action against Diane Abbott and Bell Ribeiro-Addy after they shared a platform with expelled Labour members. We also published a first-of-its-kind analysis of the records of every member of the Shadow Cabinet on antisemitism – what they said and did over the past five years and, more revealingly, what they did not.
As the complainant in the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s full statutory investigation into the Labour Party, which was launched following a formal referral by Campaign Against Antisemitism, we continued to make detailed legal submissions to the Commission and defended the integrity of its investigation in the face of repeated attempts to undermine it by Mr Corbyn and his allies, including through a contrived and dangerous leaked internal Labour Party report.
We have also been at the forefront of fighting antisemitism across all political parties, including the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party, the Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru and the Brexit Party, and in local politics.
We have exposed antisemitic memes relating to COVID-19, and over the summer we shone a spotlight on antisemitism in the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and changed the conversation overnight, even in the face of threats to our safety, and highlighted how real Civil Rights heroes like Martin Luther King Jr knew that we must unite to beat hate and declared that we would not let the voices of division within BLM trample their legacy. Meanwhile, we have continued to confront antisemitism on the far-right, with new charges against notorious antisemites.
Our efforts to tackle anti-Jewish racism on social media were perhaps best showcased in our response to grime artist Wiley’s multi-day antisemitic tirade. We immediately called for Wiley to prosecuted, for his MBE to be revoked – and the Cabinet Office has confirmed to us that it has opened a case – and for his 2019 Ivors Inspiration Award to be rescinded. We also joined the #NoSafeSpaceForJewHate 48-hour walkout from social media in protest at inaction by technology companies, whom we continued to call out and with whom we were in constant contact until Wiley was removed from each platform in turn. We even literally shone a light on racism at Twitter’s London headquarters to successfully pressure the company to act. We also launched two Parliamentary petitions: one calling for racists like Wiley to be stripped of their MBEs, which can be signed here, and the other calling for the Government to bring forward Online Harms Bill this year, which can be signed here.
This Rosh Hashanah, we wish all of our supporters, Jewish and non-Jewish, a happy, healthy, safe and successful year ahead, and ask for your help to continue our vital work.
Whatever next year brings, together we will do whatever it takes to defend against antisemitism. Shana tova!